Does social media drive traffic to websites?

by admin on January 6, 2014 · 14 comments

Sodial Media P5

From the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project:

“Some 73% of online adults now use a social networking site of some kind.

Facebook is the dominant social networking platform in the number of users, but a striking number of users are now diversifying onto other platforms.

Some 42% of online adults now use multiple social networking sites.

In addition, Instagram users are nearly as likely as Facebook users to check in to the site on a daily basis.”

Observations/Questions:

So social media is a powerhouse of communications but does it impact everyone equally?

I understand social media and famous people, major entities and corporations. It’s amazing how many people are willing to follow anyone backed my millions (billions?) of dollars in traditional news coverage and advertising.

But for the 95 percent of us who operate websites who do not fall into that category, please tell me how Facebook and other social platforms work for us?

This site addresses the needs of government, nonprofits and associations and social media DOES provide us with unique opportunities “but” the numbers coming back to our websites are small.

Does social media drive significant traffic to our websites ? In most cases, the answer is no.

It’s also “no” for the vast majority of small businesses.

Observation:

Social media embraces the few backed by big money and big publicity; it really doesn’t help those who need it the most; it doesn’t bring people back to our home base.

Are there exceptions? Heaven’s yes, there are many.

But a very common statement I get is that, “I spend a considerable amount of time on social media and engage in lots of conversations but regardless of the traffic there, it really doesn’t mean traffic here” (on their websites).

My Websites:

Social experiences will differ depending on the topic and the user base.  The observations below come from WordPress’s wonderful end of year reports:

For Http://MyLifeAudio.Com, most of my social media referrals are from Linked-In, Reddit and Stumbleupon

For Http://leonardSipes.Com, most of my social media traffic is from Linked-in, Twitter and Facebook

For a professional site I help administer with others we get social traffic principally from Facebook, Yahoo groups and Stumbleupon. For my federal websites, it’s mostly Linkedin.

But with all my websites, I get the majority of my traffic from search. Note that new sites will get most traffic from social media until they attract followers and/or get links.

So what do we need to do to get traffic?

Focus on making your articles as search friendly as possible with a careful choice of key words and giving your audience what it wants, not what you think it wants. I would also post frequently; at least three times a week.

Stick with re-posting on social media; figure out which social site works for you via topics and demographics. Just don’t expect huge amounts of traffic back to your website. Use Pew Internet research to guide you.

For many of us, our e-mail list is of the utmost importance. Don’t hesitate to ask supporters to pass your information along to their networks with encouragement to visit your website.

For sites that do not get a lot of traffic (unusual sites like Http://MyLifeAudio.Com ) I’m trying Google’s AddWords.

I note that for some sites (Http://LeonardSipes.Com ) I will forever be in competition with others who are long-established for the topics of social media and public relations. I accept lower amounts of traffic and do articles for personal and professional fulfillment. I’m not going to be in the top ten and I gladly accept that.

But it’s interesting that my best site (the professional site I do with others) gets a considerable amount of traffic principally because we address a topic not well covered by others. Sometimes, success is about the topic and not about the amount of effort.

Your turn:

What suggestions do you have for the 95 percent of websites who don’t get a lot of traffic from social media? We look forward to your suggestions.

Best, Len.

Please share and follow.

Source: http://pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2013/Social%20Networking%202013_PDF.pdf

 

 

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Brauner January 6, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Gevril Group gets about 8% of its total web visits from social media with more than half of those coming from Facebook. Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon and Twitter also send traffic. Other important sources are search, email marketing and referrals. Gevril Group competes for traffic in the highly competitive luxury and fashion watch space.

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admin January 6, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Hi Larry: Thanks for the comment and sharing. I assume that you depend on search and traditional advertising? Best, Len.

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Larry Brauner January 6, 2014 at 11:23 pm

Organic search. No traditional advertising. Gevril Group had about 40K pageviews in December from organic search and about 20K from everything else combined.

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admin January 7, 2014 at 8:26 pm

Hi Larry: Very impressive. I would love to read an article as to how they (you?) developed their search strategies. Best, Len.

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Josh Light January 7, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Hi Leonard,

Great post! I had no idea Pew had released more demographic data. I’m going to have to update my blog for politicians.

Last night I was thinking about your post, and I came to this realization. It makes sense that social networking sites would not want to drive their users to external sites because most of them monetize through advertising. The longer they can get users to stay on their site…the more profit they’ll make.

With many of these companies going public…the pressure to show quarterly profit is probably immense for executives.

Because of this…perhaps the newer non-public social networks will be the ideal area for grassroots efforts?

You’re spot on with your comments regarding getting people’s email addresses….especially with the recent Facebook announcement.

Keep producing great content,

Josh

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admin January 7, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Hi Josh: Thanks for the comments.

The only problem is how people judge their own web experiences. I have had over 100 comments on some platforms yet it doesn’t impact my site a bit.

Others need to show a return for the time and money invested. Nonprofits and associations need interaction/contributions/participation to survive. To do that, they need to come to the site. I’m not suggesting that spending hours on Linkedin defending or advocating a position is a waste of time but I am suggesting that one’s website is where people sign-up for a e-mail list that could lead to a meaningful relationship.

I love social and I appreciate the interactions but people investing in a digital life need to understand that social has limits; they need to accept social for what it is and develop strategies that fit the limitations.

Your audience, for example, can thrive on social; it’s an examination of ideas. I’m not sure that the Red Cross needs a discussion as much as donations and I would bet that visitors to their site contribute more than elsewhere.

Best, Len.

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Mugilan January 10, 2014 at 10:07 am

Yes Sir, it does deliver traffic to websites. Facebook is huge in getting website traffic. Depending on FB Page fans number, you can do it directly from FB Page status update to get clicks to website (but only 10% will see your update, so the clicks will be lesser).

Best way is to have FB Ads as a method of getting website traffic and to turn them into viral. But, it’s not straight forward. Optimizing the Ads alone will not deliver the traffic but finding the niche targeted users to get the website clicks.

For example, check out one of the Ad campaigns that we were running for our client (who uses Digital Agency to run their webclicks campaign) vs our FIAT solution (Facebook Intelligent Audience Targeting) which proves to be delivering the better results.

Website clicks Ad by Digital Agency

Screenshot: http://image-store.slidesharecdn.com/fc02fc8e-7a07-11e3-9de7-12313d000856-original.png

Website clicks Ad by using our FIAT solution (Facebook Intelligent Audience Targeting)

Screenshot: http://image-store.slidesharecdn.com/3a60b3cc-7a08-11e3-ad70-12313d1c2285-original.png

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admin January 11, 2014 at 10:21 am

Hi Mugilan: Thanks for your comments. I guess I was referring to free social media.

When you move into paid advertising you are taking it to a level that most nonprofits, associations, governmental agencies and small businesses can’t afford.

I’m trying Google AdWords for http://mylifeaudio.com (my site for interviews) but that’s about as far as I’ve gone as to paying for publicity.

What I would love to see is a study as to the most effective methods of social media advertising for smaller organizations.

Best,Len.

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Ron January 10, 2014 at 3:12 pm

I really believe that in the beginning of the social media platform era (facebook. etc), it was possible to drive people to your website…because there was not much else. But as monetizing became the main goal, I wonder how much stuff facebook has changed. Since they have gone public, I know very few small businesses that benefit from facebook’s company/business pages. I suspect that they have altered what users can see.

What I am starting to do is find websites with a decent audience to write for so that I can link back to my site. Im becoming more convinced that social media works better for companies with large established networks and media presence.

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admin January 11, 2014 at 10:12 am

Hi Ron: I agree that social media works best for those backed by millions of dollars in traditional media and advertising.

Facebook is only feeding approximately 15 percent of your audience via your business page unless you buy advertising.

I (my articles) have been shared with thousands of social media sites without an increase in page views.

I believe that for most smaller entities that e-mail and networking is a far better investment as to driving people to websites. Don’t give up on social, simply recognize that it has limitations as to your bottom-line.

Best, Len.

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Ted Dixon January 27, 2014 at 9:54 am

In a word… yes.

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admin January 27, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Thanks Ted. Not sure the data backs up the claim for most websites though. Best, Len.

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Nic February 19, 2014 at 10:58 am

The social media can be the factor that differentiates you from your competition. Successful usage in that resource can result in a positive contribution to your traffic amount. So…yes.

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admin February 20, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Thanks Nic–appreciate your comments. Len.

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